I have to say how nice it has been the last couple of days to be able to spend time outside with the warming temperatures, and just let the sun soak into my skin. My world was already feeling small these days with the quarantine, and I admit that the rainy stretch we had the last while did not exactly help my mental outlook. But being able to step outside with 70-degree temperatures has had a way of brightening my attitude and reviving my perspective.
On Saturday afternoon Mia and I went for a walk to the High School to throw the football (she has a pretty good arm!). How heartened I was to see many people out walking and enjoying the sunshiny day. They were walking dogs, riding bikes, and talking with each other—without masks, gloves, or other “protective gear.” We could see their smiles and hear their laughter! It was life-giving! It would seem everybody knew how much they needed the sun!
Did you know that the sun’s effect is more than just perception? There is actually something to it. There are negative consequences of limited sun-exposure and great benefits of increased sun-exposure. Medical studies have found that increased sunlight can have a positive effect on one’s mental and physical health. Sunlight actually triggers the release of a hormone in our brain called serotonin, which combats depression and can boost our mood. But that’s not all! Other studies have found that sunlight can have preventive benefits when it comes to other things, like some cancers and skin conditions. Sunlight produces Vitamin D, which boosts the immune system. In other words, we need the sun!
Similarly, the Bible contrasts the effects of limited Son-exposure to the benefits of increased Son-exposure. Jesus lamented the sorrows of those without the Son, and how they were sick, and distressed, and downcast (Matthew 9:35-36). He warned against how, without the Son, people are stuck under the weight of their sin (Matthew 11:20-30).
In contrast, we also read many examples of people whose exposure to the Son proved to be life-giving! Like the woman who was cured of her sin that kept her in hiding from others: she was born again when she breathed in the forgiveness of Son-exposure (John 4:1-42). Or the man who lived in utter isolation from society because he had attracted the dreaded disease of leprosy: when exposed to the Son, he was given back his life, and he returned to his community and gloried God (Luke 17:11-19). Or the tax collector, Zaccheus, who suffered from a condition of greed and dishonesty: when exposed to the Son, his heart was turned to repentance and generosity (Luke 19:1-10). And then there was Nicodemus, the Pharisee, who spent his days working in the sweatshops of religious works but was rescued with the news of the saving work of Son-exposure (John 3:16).
I don’t know for sure what you are dealing with at this time in your life—what sorrow, what burden, what struggle, what challenge. But I do know that the basic cure is Son-exposure. In other words, we need the Son! Seek Him more earnestly. Follow Him more closely. Listen to Him more intently. Trust Him more faithfully. And you will find He is “the light of the world; he who follows Him shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of the world.” (John 8:12)
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Son of God, shine on me. Shine deep into my soul. Heal me. Restore me. Revive me. Amen.